Happy Friday Cord Cutters!
This week we're talking about the new 'smart soundbar' trend that combines streaming players with speakers for your TV.
Also: Details on the new Fire TV Cube, Q&A on WiFi 6, short cuts, must-see OTA TV, and more.
As always, if you know of someone who might need some insight or help with cutting the cord on cable or satellite, please forward our newsletter, or use the handy share buttons at the top of this email.
OK... now let's get to it!
NEWS: 'Smart Soundbars' from Roku & Amazon
This week Roku and Amazon both announced they're jumping on the 'smart soundbar' bandwagon, following on the July launch of an Android TV-powered bar from JBL.
These devices all combine streaming TV players with speakers that will undoubtedly give you a better sound experience than the ones on your TV.
But would these combo devices perform better than a traditional soundbar and a stand-alone streaming device? Cordcutters.com has a good overview of the pros and cons of this 2-in-1 approach.
It's also worth checking out The Verge's coverage for some bigger picture thoughts on what this new front in the streaming TV battle means.
What do you think of the 'smart soundbar' concept? Tell us on Facebook or Twitter.
NEWS: Next-Gen Amazon Fire TV Cube Coming in October
Amazon also announced an updated Fire TV Cube device that will start shipping in both the United States and Canada on October 10th. Pricing is set at $119.99 USD or $149.99 CAD.
Reviewers didn't love the original Fire TV Cube, citing dicey voice integration and underpowered processors. But this new version is a big step up in terms of performance on both fronts.
With its new hexa-core processor, the latest version of the Fire TV Cube is twice as fast as its predecessor and is officially the most high-performance Fire TV device ever made.
As for the Alexa voice integration, requests for basic on-screen navigation have been moved out of the cloud and onto the device itself which should significantly help with the response time.
We'll make sure to share some hands-on reviews when they come out!
Will you upgrade to the new Fire TV Cube when it arrives? Tell us on Facebook or Twitter.
Q&A: Should I Look for a WiFi 6 Streaming Device?
Send us your most pressing cord cutting questions via email so we can answer them in an upcoming issue.
Today's question comes from Travis who says, "I want to upgrade my Roku stick. Should I wait for one that supports the new WiFi 6 standard that I saw mentioned in last week's newsletter?"
While better and faster WiFi connectivity is coming with the new WiFi 6 standard, I wouldn't be looking for a streaming TV device that supports it anytime soon.
- Everyone will need to upgrade to a WiFi 6 home router to even take advantage of the new standard. You can buy one, but they're still QUITE expensive — expect to pay between $300-$400.
- New WiFi 6 chipsets aren't too much more expensive than AC or N versions, but every penny counts when you're in an ultra-competitive market like Roku and Fire TV are. They won't spend more on components that aren't needed.
- And you really don't NEED WiFi 6 in a device like a Roku or a Fire TV. Even if you were streaming multiple 4K videos at once to a single device, you'd never even get close to the theoretical limits of WiFi 4 or 5.
So if you want to 'future proof' your upgraded streaming device as much as possible, look to spend about $100 on a Roku Ultra or the new Fire TV Cube which both feature WiFi 5 (aka 802.11ac).
Have a question about cord cutting that you'd like answered? Send us a note and you may see your question in an upcoming issue of Cord Cutting This Week!
SHORT CUTS: How to Watch Football, New Apple TV Rumors, & More
Most weeks there's more news than we can cram into this email. Thankfully 'short cuts' delivers the cord-cutting news and deals we didn't have room for, including:
WHAT'S ON: Must-See OTA TV
As always, there's lots great TV coming to you FREE with an antenna this week including:
- New political talk show Full Court Press with Greta Van Susteren premieres - September 8th @ 5:00 a.m. ET on ABC
- Newsmagazine Matter of Fact with Soledad O'Brien premieres - September 8th @ 6:00 a.m. ET on ABC
- Move over Judy... former talk show host Jerry Springer's new show Judge Jerry premieres - September 9th @ 11:00 a.m. ET on FOX
- Check out the special Lip Sync to the Rescue - September 9th @ 8:00 p.m. ET on CBS/Global
- See a preview of new and returning shows in the CBS Fall Preview Show - September 9th @ 9:00 p.m. ET on CBS
- Tune into the ABC News Democratic Candidates Debate - September 12th @ 8:00 p.m. ET on ABC
- Canadians can catch the McLean's/CityTV National Leaders Debate at the same time (yeah, we've got an election coming up too, eh) - September 12th @ 8:00 p.m. ET on CityTV
Don't forget to regularly check the TV SHOWS > PREMIERING filter on your Tablo app to find and set new and old favorites to record!
CANADIAN CORNER: Save on Seagate Drives at Walmart
Looking for a hard drive for your Tablo DVR or just to back up family photos? Walmart's got some good in-store only deals on Seagate Expansion hard drives until September 11th.
These prices beat both Amazon and Best Buy so don't miss out!
We hope you enjoyed this edition of Cord Cutting This Week!
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The Tablo Team
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